Just by coincidence, I am now working one day a week at a community center that backs onto one of the more toxic spots of the river. I infer it to be so based on hearsay and the complete fencing-off of the river area from the ball field by chain-link that is 20′ high or so. Its a beautiful spot for birds nonetheless. An group of crows make anxious and angry protest whenever I take a short turn around the field to stretch my legs. Two weeks ago, I was first to work, and as I didn’t have a key, I took a short walk upstream. I found the Allendale Mill, and took this picture of the dam built in the 1820s…
In the run up to the Kickstarter campaign, many things are coming together. I’ve been writing, inking and drawing at all hours; the campaign postcard design is in its final stages; the video is being cobbled together. Thanks to the Map Center http://www.mapcenter.com/ I’ve got some lovely US Geological survey maps to reference as I develop the different map spreads and scale. If you haven’t visited the Map Center, do!
Last week I was excited to finish putting together the test book that you see above. It represents the solution to so many problems! The long papers necessary for fold-outs were limited by the size of the printing presses. This book at 9 1/8″ x 12 1/2″ achieves the page shape that I was looking for, while remaining a printable size. The side sewn binding is a simple solution to binding the loose pages. The colors that you see here are NOT the intended final colors, though the blue/grey spectrum is a likely final look. I’m so close to determining the actual cost of making these things, BUT FOR … the construction of the cover. The binding is the most labor intensive part of this project, and it threatens to make the price too high! I am looking for a solution that will deliver great content in a simple container. To make the book above, I used a matte board (the type used in art framing) reasoning that it could be printed on directly, put together with cloth tape, and glued to the book’s endpapers. I sent the specifications to the printer, but he does not seem enthusiastic about printing directly onto the board. To make matters worse, my test case developed a slight warp when left to its own devices- though this may have something to do with the fact that I used my 4 year old’s watered down “school glue” to glue on the endpaper! Two steps forward, one back. This week, I’ll be finding some proper glue, and consulting further with the printer. On a more positive note, having final book dimensions means that I can start laying out content. Time in the studio actually spent drawing is indeed something to look forward to!
Some writing and illustration from this week:
…As a child of cities, when I reached the stage of youthful yearning in life, I yearned for wild places. At the height of Providence’s industrial strength, the network of rivers that met in the center of the city had been paved over to support rail tracks and roads. When I arrived in the 1990s the downtown rivers had been uncovered and relocated, but an infrastructure of mills and water ways that our human economy no longer had an urgent interest in maintaining still stood. The disciplined work of grooming the natural environment was now directed at the plantings and curb ornamentations of shopping plazas. SO If you walked long enough in any direction and looked for overgrown waterways, a sort of crooked wild experience was always close at hand, and somehow comforting.
BELOW: Sketch from photos of a hawk that was seen eating a fish from the river near the mall.
This is not the first work that I have completed that treats the Woonasquatucket river and/or local Providence wildlife. Long, long ago, I designed a community mural project for the River Council that featured wildlife found in and around the river. That mural was painted on the side of a plating plant, and it remained there until the building was renovated @ 2009. It is now the United Way building on San Souci near Olneyville square.
For the mural execution I created a sort of paint-by-numbers system where teams would work from simple illustrations. Featured here is a fish that the materials I then found called the “horny headed chub.” I’ve always found that name funny, and I have seen bumpy headed fish in the river, but I’m going to have to do more fact-checking for the book!
This one the reason why this book will be fascinating and unique. It is also making it challenging to print and bind. This dummy book is about 2 x 3 inches. The real book will be about 10 x 14 inches. Large pages with large fold-outs mean that I’ll be using the maximum size of page that the local presses can handle. I can’t easily describe how this makes binding difficult, but the easy method of stapling will not work. Also it would not look good! Right now I think that the solution will be a “side sewn” binding as seen here.
This evening I put together a test case book using the 65 lb cover stock for interior pages and the 100lb stuff for the cover. I think that the book will be side sewn, but it seems that the cover may have to be made of heavier stuff. The next picture shows one of the fold-out pages open.
This site is devoted to the completion of an illustrated book that I began years ago, before becoming a full time teacher (health insurance) and then having children (joyful foolhardiness). The river that I first met in the 1990s by scrambling along a narrow path leading from underpasses to tranquil shady banks and punctuated by caches of clothes and old furniture, shrines, and remnants of jewelery manufacture has remained a constant in my life. This book will be a series of illustrations taking the reader down the river as it was then, and a text that explores the resilience and awesomeness of the force of nature once harnessed to power the city’s industry.